Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction (2023) Movie Review – The period romance disappoints as it deviates from conventional tropes

Light-hearted period drama deviates from conventional tropes, resulting in a disappointing experience

Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction is a fantasy romantic period drama that revolves around Mr. Cazotte, a self-described master of seduction and an artist. The scheming Royal Duchess of Babenhausen appoints Cazotte to pass on the skill of making love to the reserved Crown Prince Lothar, who appears uninterested in women.

Once a child is born outside of wedlock, the Duchesses strategy goes awry. The royal household is then compelled to relocate to an abandoned castle in order to protect themselves against a scandal. They make this move given that failing to do so could jeopardise their right to the throne.

The beloved novel Ehrengard by Karen Blixen served as the inspiration for the period comedy. The work of fiction was written and published by the author using the alias Isak Dinesen. The movie adaptation seamlessly weaves a story containing themes of infatuation, royal scandal, and intriguing wagers.

Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction adeptly explores a sequence of captivating occurrences, wherein Cazotte’s meddling results in a significant issue involving the throne and the birth of an illegitimate heir, transforming the aspirations of the Grand Duchess into a catastrophe. In the middle of the tumultuous events, the emerging romantic tension between Cazotte and Ehrengard contributes a poignant element to the narrative.

Nevertheless, there are instances where Cazotte’s actions get absolutely unsettling given that it’s so off-putting. He is so head over heels with Ehrengard that he paints her portrait while she is bathing in a lake, completely unaware of his presence. Given how the movie appears to celebrate this element, it’s challenging to take it lightly.

The depiction of chivalry, the gradual burn of romance, and the eventual happy ending are often cited as hallmarks of period dramas. The movie in question challenges these conventional expectations and disregards established elements, resulting in a lingering sense of disappointment once it comes to an end.

The narrative effectively sustains the audience’s attention and curiosity. The tone employed to convey the central concept of the light-hearted rom-com is also quite clear. Consequently, when Cazotte discusses the concept of seduction or when the Royal Duchess discusses the matter of succession, the subject matter does not appear excessively intricate.

The movie showcases breathtaking venues as well as aesthetic outfits that draw inspiration from Queen Margrethe II. Additionally, the cinematography in the piece is praiseworthy. It is characterized by skillful photography that captures the aesthetic appeal of various settings, including natural landscapes and regal castles. Incorporating such minute details effectively engrosses the viewers within the tale in question. 

The actors demonstrate excellent acting skills throughout the movie. The portrayal of passion and charm is palpable during each sequence. Mikkel Følsgaard effectively embodies the role of Cazotte, displaying a notable level of intensity and faithfully adhering to the defining characteristics of his character.

Whenever he engages in the act of seduction with a character depicted on the screen, viewers are immediately intrigued by the persuasive power of his discourse. His adept delivery of words effortlessly captivates the attention of the audience.

Alice Bier Zanden displays a distant demeanor in her portrayal of the character Ehrengard. The viewer’s comprehension of Cazotte’s artistic attraction to Ehrengard is facilitated by Zanden’s deliberate cultivation of an aura of enigma surrounding the character.

As a whole, Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction can be considered satisfactory, with occasional elements that evoke a sense of discomfort. The narrative of the Netflix movie steers away from the conventional charm of period dramas, resulting in a somewhat underwhelming experience.

The visual elements of the period drama, including the costumes, set design, and cinematography, are truly breathtaking. But despite an abundance of comedic efforts, it doesn’t land. In its entirety, the movie is lighthearted, yet rather disappointing.


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